Saranac Pumpkin Ale

Matt Brewing Company (Saranac Brewery)

Appearance

This pours a copper color and produces a small, white head that quickly dissolves to a membrane of interest. It’s completely clear and showcases a mild amount of carbonation.

Aroma

The aroma is defined mostly by spice notes including cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. I also get hints of ginger, soft caramel and a surprisingly fresh pumpkin. Notes of a malt base match the spice profile nicely at the nose.

Taste

Wow. This is not the Saranac Pumpkin I remember from previous years. Up front I find a spice bill that follows the nose. Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger and brown sugar all seem present. There’s also an immediate presence of the hop aspect of the base. As I transition, however, this recedes and a malt-driven experience takes over. It turns quite sweet and begins to taste much like the cookie character I’m familiar with. There’s a nice caramel pumpkin character that also begins to shine through. It matches well with the sweet base and helps keep the spices from running away with the experience. The finish is sugary and sweet and filled with a pumpkin pie taste that will leave many wanting more.

Mouthfeel

This is a medium bodied option with mild carbonation. It’s mostly smooth however it does provide some texture at times. Its sweetness can be a bit chewy as well, but overall it’s a very drinkable beer.

Overall

As predicted, this is a sweet option. Those who prefer the pumpkin pie experience will likely enjoy this one. What wasn’t predicted was its balance and its increased natural pumpkin flavor. It’s much more balanced than it has been. Its complexity is decent and, as mentioned, natural pumpkin surfaces often. What was once an artificial feeling option is now one that has apparently turned its focus to looking beyond just spices. While it still might be too sweet for some, it’s definitely improved. Perhaps most notable is the mere fact I can find a base in it this year – something that was always so overwhelmed by the spice profile in years past.  It’s a good option to grab if you want a drinkable, pumpkin-cookie experience.

3.25